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What Should You Do If You Suspect You Are Having A Heart Attack?
If you think you may be having a heart attack:
- If you are with someone, tell that person you may be having a heart attack and want to get to the hospital immediately. Have the person call 911 or the emergency services number.
- If you are alone, call 911 or the emergency services number immediately. Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
- Once you have called 911, you likely will be instructed to chew and swallow an aspirin unless your physician has advised you otherwise (e.g., because of allergies or contraindications, including possible harmful interactions with other medications or known disease complications). Keep in mind that chewing helps get the aspirin into the bloodstream faster than swallowing it whole.
If you suspect someone else is having a heart attack:
- Call 911 or your emergency services number immediately. Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives. Do not attempt to drive the person to the hospital; if his or her condition should worsen, there is nothing you can do to help while driving.
- After 911 is called, the EMS dispatcher will likely give pre-arrival instructions (when appropriate) for the administration of aspirin (not acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen) and nitroglycerin (if prescribed) while emergency-response units are enroute to the scene The ideal aspirin dose in such instances is two to four baby aspirin or one full or extra strength tablet (325 or 500mg), and chewing helps get the aspirin into the bloodstream faster than swallowing it whole. (The patient should not be given aspirin if his or her physician has advised otherwise, e.g., because of allergies or possible harmful interactions with other medications or known disease complications).
- If the person is conscious, keep the person calm and help him or her into a comfortable position. The victim should stop all physical activity, lie down, loosen clothing around the chest area, and remain calm until the ambulance arrives.
- If the person becomes unconscious, make sure the person is lying on his or her back. Clear the airway and loosen clothing at the neck, chest and waist. Check for breathing and pulse; if absent, and if trained to do so, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Hope this helps,
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